In my opinion, when writing a paper, we must have in mind some important points in order to execute with excellence and achieve optimum results. First, we must plan what we are going to write, and perform some prewriting activities, such as thinking, collecting information, establishing a thesis, knowing the audience, organizing and outlining the ideas.
After having planned the work, we implement the writing activity itself, when we should let the ideas flow while we register them on paper, without letting other considerations like formatting, spelling, grammar to interfere with the creation process. When using a good text processor, like Microsoft Word 2007, it will help you with the spelling, formatting and even with some basic grammar checking during the draft phase.
Then, having finished the draft we start the formatting and revising phase; that’s when we will make sure our ideas are clearly and completely exposed, our content makes sense, and the format is suitable. In this phase we will have great benefit of using a good text processor.
Finally, we have the proofreading stage, when we read our document and look for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, mechanics, and so forth. We can also ask for another person to do the revision because sometimes we are not able to see a few mistakes that would be caught by another reader.
And last, but not least, we go for presentation and publication, where the definitive format will be delivered to the reader. We must have the means that the final result is as good as we planned it to be. An excellent work with a poor presentation may not be even considered by the intended audience.
Summarizing, the five major steps are Planning and Prewriting, Writing, Formatting and Revising, Proofreading, and Presentation and Publication. In the classes I had during the Foreign Business Completion Sequence, I realized that following these steps is essential to writing good papers. In addition, when formatting, having access to the APA Little Brown Compact Handbook is a bless for those who need to comply with this format.
Another thing that all students must be very aware of is plagiarism - it is not tolerated. Again, the Center for Writing Excellence is a great resource to check for that.
In addition, it is important that a paper focus on one or more thesis. A thesis encloses an opinion about a topic, and the author should be able to fit the thesis in one sentence. Being the main idea the author wants to communicate with his or her work, the thesis is a requirement for starting to plan for good writing. By thinking of the thesis in advance, the author creates a scope he or she will use on the work to be done. Once the thesis is defined, other activities support the author in the creative process.
The topic is the issue the author is writing about, the thing about which he or she wants to express his or her opinion. The author will need to have knowledge about the matter to be able to express a point of view, and part of the planning process is to gather information after having thought about the thesis. With the information that serve as the base to the viewpoint, the author will then focus on planning the work for matching the audience in a way to make the work enjoyable.